Have a Plan This Thanksgiving; Don’t Just ‘Wing It’!

 

By Jimmy Hays Nelson 

 

So it is finally upon us, Thanksgiving! The holiday that is the most closely identified with food! (And usually LOTS of it!)

So for those of us making a real effort to eat healthy, or are in the middle of a fitness program; what do we do? Should we shun the chance to spend time with those we love by locking ourselves in a room with nothing but baked chicken and steamed green beans? Do we bring our own food to Thanksgiving dinner, and run the risk of having to explain over and over to every distant relative that ‘No, I didn’t join a cult – I’m just watching what I eat’. Only to have them roll their eyes or give us a hard time about it?

Both are actually viable options, but I personally don’t follow either.

Here are a few steps I follow every Thanksgiving to enjoy celebrating a holiday with my family, but also not completely sabotaging all the hard work I have put in to reach my health and fitness goals.

  • Since Thanksgiving is always on a Thursday, I make an extra effort to eat as clean as possible the rest of the week leading up to Turkey Day.
  • I make sure to get in a really great workout on Thanksgiving morning. That could be going for a run, grabbing a yoga Class, or popping in an INSANITY DVD.
  • I eat small healthy meals leading up to the big Thanksgiving family dinner. This keeps you from over indulging because you have starved yourself all day.
  • This may sound silly. But if you have an option on the size of plate you use to serve yourself, pick the smaller plate. I always feel more full by eating everything packed onto a small plate, than trying to limit myself on a large plate or platter. (You will also get fewer comments from your ‘loving’ family asking why you don’t have more on your plate.)
  • Regardless what Aunt Edna says, you DON’T have to try one of everything that is offered. I usually pick one or two splurge items I know I want to enjoy, serve myself a small serving of each, then surround the rest of my plate with white turkey meat and vegetables.
  • Dessert. Yep, I enjoy dessert. Again I look at all my options and pick the one I know I want the most. I cut myself a small piece and enjoy.
  • Speaking of enjoy. ENJOY your food. Take your time. I have even been known to physically put my fork down between bites to make myself take more time to eat. By doing this you will savor your well earned splurge, and you will be much less likely to travel back for seconds ….. or thirds.
  • And last, but not least. Just because your family cooked more food than everyone could eat, does NOT mean it’s your responsibility to take left overs home. Make this a Holi-DAY not a Holi-WEEK.

That’s about it. I hope you find these tips helpful.

We all have so much to be thankful for this time of year, no reason not to allow yourself a little day of indulgence. And IF you happen to go a little overboard, don’t beat yourself up! Just know that Friday is a new day, and you can be back on your normal routine as soon as you choose to be!

Yours in Health – Coach Jimmy

P.S.- If you are traveling this holiday season make sure you check out my ‘How to eat healthy while traveling’ Post.

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